This week on Family Policy Matters, we have a special year end show for you, featuring excerpts from some of the most popular episodes of Family Policy Matters that aired throughout 2021. We hear from Noelle Mering, author of Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology, about the dangers of socialism. Next, Luke Niforatos, executive vice president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, talks about how Big Tobacco has taken over the marijuana industry and is creating a product geared towards getting people addicted and making as much money as possible. Our third excerpt comes from our show with North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson about his F.A.C.T.S. task force. Next, attorney Chris Derrick discusses how the changing forms of gambling are making this dangerous practice more accessible, and therefore causing more people to become addicted. Finally, North Carolina mother Kristie shares advice for parents who are struggling, as she has, with a child with identifies as transgender.
Thank you for listening to Family Policy Matters this year! We hope you have enjoyed the show and will be back next year to hear more!
CALLEY MANGUM: Today we are excited to bring you a special year-end show, featuring excerpts from some of the most popular episodes of Family Policy Matters that aired throughout 2021.
Our first excerpt comes from a show that aired in October with Noelle Mering, fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of Awake Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology. We hope you enjoy.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: I’m sure we have some young people who are listening, and I’m often surprised when I talk about Marxism or socialism, that they don’t necessarily see what the problem is with that. So can you talk just very briefly about why you think that’s a danger, if we’re going in that direction?
NOELLE MERING: I agree with you; I see that problem too. Truly, other people have said this before, communism should be understood to be as much of a pejorative as Nazism. There’s no reason to think that communism is any better. In fact, the body count is higher. So, I think it’s dangerous because we see every time it’s been implemented the same pattern. Because it’s an ideology that’s based on a totalizing, one filter of the way we see each other—and in this case, the lens of power, that we’re supposed to see all human relationships, all human dynamics through the lens of power—it creates this opportunity for this endless power struggle where people are suspicious of each other, where they are … being hurt by someone else. So it prompts you to look for ways in which you’re harmed and to find virtue and moral stature in that. It creates a culture of accusation, and every time it’s been implemented, it’s the same thing. Because it is built on so many fundamental lies, it has to maintain power by coercion, silencing, propaganda, because it’s not fundamentally oriented towards the truth. The truth is the thing that frees us to pursue; we’re free to pursue the truth if we have truth as our goal. If we have power as our goal, then it becomes far more coercive, far more quickly.
CALLEY MANGUM: Our next excerpt comes from a show that aired in September with Luke Niforatos, executive vice president of the national nonprofit Smart Approaches to Marijuana.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Wow, you’ve touched on a really important point that I think a lot of people don’t really understand is Big Tobacco or big corporations that are behind this push. And that’s not the way they promote this, is it?
LUKE NIFORATOS: No, not at all. You just look at the history of tobacco: 5,000 years ago, people were smoking tobacco, but they weren’t developing all kinds of cancer from it. We weren’t seeing millions of people across the world dying from it. But about a hundred years ago, we had the invention of the cigarette, the first ever big tobacco industry, the global supply chain, and they adulterated the tobacco plant. They added ammonia and nicotine and other things into the cigarettes and they got people addicted, hooked, and all kinds of cancers and other harms happened. Next thing we know, millions of people across the world are dying from tobacco-related cancer and other forms of disease.
So what we are seeing with marijuana is very similar to that, where we have a plant that has been around for thousands of years—not really used by a lot of people, but it’s been around—but now it’s being taken by a massive multi-billion dollar industry, that has taken over $2 billion from the tobacco industry alone, that has taken marijuana, adulterated it, bred it to be much more potent than it’s ever been. It’s now 99% potency THC—that’s the ingredient that gets you high—compared to just 2 to 3% potency, which was natural to the plant two decades ago. So it’s totally different, much more potent, much more addictive. So now we’re starting to see these harms come out—mental health issues, schizophrenia, issues with pregnant mothers and children in the womb, all kinds of problems that we never really saw with this drug before that we’re now seeing, because of legalization, because of this commercialized model that’s happening. And it’s called addiction for profit. I mean, that’s what this is.
From a company perspective, you want to deliver returns to your shareholders. So when you have Big Tobacco coming in and putting in $2 billion in this industry, they need to give a return on that investment, the marijuana industry does. The only way that they can do that is by selling a ton more weed and making it very addictive. And it’s really interesting, you look at Colorado, just 4% of the marijuana users in Colorado make up 70% of the marijuana sales in our state. That’s from the latest numbers. So 4% make up 70% of the sales for this drug. They are heavily addicted, heavily using this drug. And that is what the industry wants. They, unfortunately, because of that profit incentive, derive their money from addiction. That’s why we need to keep the industry out of North Carolina and not allow this drug to become commercialized.
CALLEY MANGUM: Our next excerpt comes from a show that aired in May with NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson on his F.A.C.T.S. task force.
JOHN RUSTIN: Now the F.A.C.T.S. Task Force—and F.A.C.T.S. is an acronym that stands for Fairness and Accountability in the Classroom for Teachers and Students— the F.A.C.T.S. Task Force that you have created has a very specific purpose. Talk about that a little bit. What prompted you to create this task force?
LT. GOV. ROBINSON: Well, you know, for years I’ve known that this indoctrination existed in the classroom. I knew it when my children were in school, when I saw examples of it then. But I didn’t realize how widespread it was until I became a candidate for lt. governor. Once I became a candidate, everywhere we went, we found while we were traveling the state we heard about these things. As lt. governor, we continue to, of course, hear about them.
And then I began to see some of it up close and personal when I attended my first school board meeting, and got an inside look at some of the things and agendas that are being pushed at the state level. It’s very dismaying to me that these things are going on. And again, we hear about it all the time and everybody talks about it all the time; the problem is it didn’t seem that anyone was really making a move to do anything about it. And that is why we started this task force. We started this task force to give parents, teachers, and students a place where they could bring their complaints, and not just have them heard, but actually figure out a way to do something about this. This is a problem not just in North Carolina; it is a problem all across the country. And it’s not just about indoctrination in the classroom; it’s also about bias in the classroom and about bias at our schools where conservative voices, Christian voices, are being pushed out of the conversation, or not being allowed to be part of the conversation. We have got to change that; we have got to make sure that everybody in the classroom has a voice and that everybody in the classroom is being treated fairly. I know in this country we’ve always tried to do that, and we needed to do it in education as well. And so that’s the purpose of the task force.
CALLEY MANGUM: Our fourth excerpt is from a show that aired in September with attorney Chris Derrick, gambling expert and author of the article “Teetering on the Edge: Gambling in North Carolina,” which was featured in the Fall 2021 edition of NC Family’s flagship publication, Family North Carolina magazine.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Talk a little bit about the different elements or levels of gambling. Are some worse than others? Are some more addictive than others?
CHRIS DERRICK: The thing you have to keep in mind with respect to gambling and kind of distinguish about the harms gambling can create is, what kind of gambling is it? And the things that affect that are really the proximity of the form of gambling; and then the speed with which the form of gambling allows you to play or to gamble. So, say you have a casino or a video sweepstakes parlor within an easy drive of your house; that’s concerning from a problem gambling standpoint. That’s because casino-style games such as slots or video poker move fast and they provide a quick outcome, and you can then immediately play again and that feeds the gambling high, meaning that these types of games are more addictive in nature.
And for the same reasons, though, the legalization of statewide sports betting is a huge concern. That’s because sports betting is no longer simply placing a bet on the outcome of your favorite team’s game this weekend; it’s a literally a non-stop, daily form of gambling and bets can be placed on anything from college sports to pro sports to even electronic sports. This form of gambling now is something that can be constant and repeated quickly. If the sports betting bill passes in North Carolina, to say that it would be readily available would really be an understatement. There’ll be no need to travel off to Cherokee or to Vegas to sports gamble; you’ll be able to legally bet from the convenience of your own home. And at the end of the day, the bill would make every home in North Carolina a potential sports-bet casino. That’s why it’s interesting that the National Council on Problem Gambling came out with a recent survey on gambling in the United States, and they say that we’re really on the threshold of, or starting the biggest expansion of legalized gambling in the nation’s history. And the reason they say that is the legalization of sports betting that’s going on across the country. And it’s fueling the unprecedented explosion in gambling and problem gambling that we’re going to see in the United States coming up.
CALLEY MANGUM: Our final excerpt for this week comes from a show that aired in March with Kristie, a NC mother of a transgender-identifying daughter.
JOHN RUSTIN: Kristie, as we conclude our conversation, I want to give you an opportunity to just share any advice that you would provide to other parents who are experiencing something similar to what you and your family have gone through.
KRISTIE: Well, I would say go with your gut instincts. If you know that this is not right then stand firm and don’t play into your child’s fantasy that they can change their sex, because their sex is immutable; they cannot change that. They can dress up and try to pretend to be someone else, but we know deep down who our children are. You have to be their reality check. I would be cautious with any therapist that you want to take your child to, and any medical professional, because they are very quick to start medicalization. And that’s very dangerous. I would recommend that they do find a local support network that is critical of this movement. And do your research, because there are a lot of really good websites out there. I didn’t mention before, but genderhq.org is another one. Just stay connected with your child, continue to love your child no matter what, because as parents we just want what’s best for our child. Focus on their health and well-being. And pray! I recommend just continue praying that your child will open up their heart to God and talk about it.
That’s another important thing. You have to be willing to talk about it; do not suffer in silence. You have to have a support network, and you may find that there are some people that do not agree with you if you are taking a critical stance. But there are plenty of people out there who will support you. I know that I’ve had some wonderful friends that every day send me inspirational messages, texts, occasionally to check in, to see how I’m doing. Things like that are really uplifting when you’re going through this. But just remember that biological sex and gender are not the same thing. The biological sex is your reality. Gender is your perception of how your body is being presented. And that’s, you know, something that can change from one day to the next.
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